The French military intervention has rescued Mali but much still needs to be done to bring on stability to the country and the region, MEPs said in Wednesday's debate with Commissioner Štefan Füle, standing in for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The political process must be initiated immediately and neighbouring countries associated with it, as the conflict extends far beyond Mali itself, MEPs insisted.
The political process in Mali must start urgently and elections must be held before summer and not delayed, said MEPs. They welcomed the creation of a Commission for dialogue and national reconciliation, but stressed it must be as inclusive as possible and not replace justice.
Many MEPs favoured transforming the ECOWAS-led AFISMA mission mission into a UN one. Such a mission would however need to have a strengthened mandate, MEPs underlined, to avoid repeating the painful experiences of past UN missions.
MEPs also regretted the lack of genuine solidarity of member states with France, the only EU country fighting in Mali. They hoped that the newly-decided EU "comprehensive approach", encompassing all aspects of external policy, could be in future put into effect more proactively.